CSI MasterFormat divisions provide the standards for North America’s construction industry. Helping construction contractors, engineers, and stakeholders to streamline building processes it prescribes a comprehensive framework for construction information. It ensures efficient execution of bidding, estimating, reporting, tracking budgets, and various other construction processes.

CSI formats are significant in highlighting all the equipment, components, and work involved with every construction discipline. Additionally, it enhances security, reduces risk, and ensures the project is carried out without delay.

There are about 50 CSI divisions. As often overstated, these divisions are not that complicated. We have briefed each division in this blog for your convenience. So without further ado let’s get learning what each division has got to offer!

CSI Overview

Constructions Specification Institute or CSI division is a list of standards and guidelines for construction experts, contractors, and designers to organize and manage several construction tasks. From bidding, estimating, and drawing to efficiently handling construction equipment with consistent monitoring, CSI provides quality guidelines to carry out seamless construction projects.

Historical Perspective Of CSI Divisions

CSI aims to organize the requirements in numbers. In 1948, it was established. They have a construction requirements system. In 1963, they published a MasterFormat including 16 divisions of labor. MasterFormat is a combination of CSC (Construction Specifications Canada) and CSI (Construction Specifications Institute). It introduced 16 divisions in 1975.

Divisions of MasterFormat

Initially, there were CSI MasterFormat 16 divisions that provided a standard for written instructions and specifications for operating several construction and manufacturing projects. Well, the latest 2018 update modified the CSI 16 divisions into a 50-Division MasterFormat. This is the most updated version of CSI, which defines modern technologies and equipment processes for construction endeavors.

MasterFormat 50 Divisions for Construction

MasterFormat provides 50 CSI divisions. Each division has a specific aspect of construction. The division relates to handling, installation, and maintenance of electrical, HVAC, Plumbing, and several other construction operations. Some divisions are for future reservations. For evolution in the construction industry, 15 to 20 visions are not assigned any construction specifications.

The construction industry is prone to several technological waves. There is always something new to adopt, following technological enhancements. That is why the CSI divisions 15-20, 29, 30, 36-39, 49, and 50 are left unallotted for new solutions in the construction industry.

For reference, avail the old versions online. The latest version is paid, which you can get from their page. You may find issues of communication and errors in the outdated version. This format aims to align all the participants of the project for convenience.

Let’s further dive into the CSI division and understand what each division has to offer.

CSI Division List

Get to know about the CSI list of divisions here.

Division 00 (Requirements for Contract and Procurement)

We know purchases of services and supplies for the industry are procurement. Improving the efficiency of building projects is essential. A construction company wants to complete its tasks on budget and on time. So, the evaluation of materials for purchasing and procurement is required.

Division 01 (General Requirements)

They provide an outline of the precise methods. The organizations work for a specific project and each division or trade. The methods of CSI are scheduling requirements, payment apps, safety checks, RFIs, submittals, Leed, permitting, progress meetings, and daily logs.

Division 02 (Prevailing Conditions)

They include the analyses and evaluations of the site. In the case of building demolition, the soil and contamination need to be cleaned. They have strategies to locate the land areas. It’s to save future projects from being affected.

Division 03 (Concrete)

It includes the admixture types, basic materials, shaping, finishing, reinforcement, and concrete handling. Moreover, the activities of repair and maintenance are also involved.

Division 04 (Masonry)

Buildings that have masonry use single units with cement. The three materials used in masonry buildings are stone, concrete, and brick.

Division 05 (Metals)

Building requires metals all over it. They may include steel columns for structure and beams for a skeletal framework. You may form them metals after bending. They can make floors, decorative designs, roofs, and stairs.

Division 06 (Plastics, Composites, Wood)

These are a set of building materials, including both modern and classic. Use them in Construction of all types. They can be finishing materials of building, structural, or non-structural. Wood possesses unique qualities, so it has various uses.

Division 07 (Protection for Moisture and Thermal)

These protection materials are to safeguard and seal the building. Also, to protect the structure’s exterior from thermal, air infiltration, and moisture. Other accessories and insulated-related materials are involved as well. The division includes insulation, waterproofing, roofing, and damproofing. For concrete Construction, waterproofing and dampproofing don’t apply.

Division 08 (Openings)

This division includes repair, replacement, maintenance, or installation of opening goods or components of the building. Those are skylights, grilles, glazing systems, glazing supplies, vents, windows, doors, entrances, hardware, and louvers.

Division 09 (Finishes)

They are typical interior finishes, like paint, floors, walls, and ceilings. It describes their procedures and needs in present, future developments, and past installations.

Division 10 (Specialties)

Specialties are for walls, signs, equipment, and display boards. Equipment for fire safety, bathroom accessories, and corner protection. Company of every type needs these goods.

Division 11 (Equipment)

It covers all requirements for facility, residence, or structure. There is a frequent need for equipment for a project in their building or design. Kit includes security, laundry, food service, healthcare, recreation, parking control, bank, office, entertainment, and garbage collection.

Division 12 (Furnishings)

They cover different things for installing finished spaces. This broad category includes fine artworks and decorative. They support the interaction of humans or can be pleasing to the eye.

Division 13 (Special Construction)

It includes only those buildings that serve specifically. Greenhouses are an example. They need complex techniques and specifications for the Construction of specific structures. Installing subsystems of ordinary buildings that are unique. Consider a bank vault for this.

Special Construction

Division 14 (Equipment for Conveying)

They are handling equipment for moving materials to another location. Take examples of conveying belts and elevators.

Division 21 (Fire Suppression)

This division involves tasks related to fire suppression. The project site needs suppressing fire in the structure or building’s footprint. The range includes water-based systems, water storage, fire pumps, and fire extinguishing systems.

Division 22 (Plumbing)

You will see different requirements in this division. They relate to fixtures of plumbing, piping of fire protection, valves, domestic systems for cold and hot water, and drainage systems for stormwater and sanitary.

Division 23 (Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning)

Division 23 of CSI provides a comprehensive set of instructions for the installation and maintenance of HVAC. It defines the specifications for designs, and technological advancement needed to adopt, maintenance, and troubleshooting needs. It also deals with how future enhancements would impact the HVAC system. Division 23 enables construction owners to equip heating, ventilating, and cooling systems to their modern structure designs.

Also Read: How to Estimate HVAC Installation Costs?

Division 25 (Integrated Automated Systems)

Division 25 deals with integrated automation. It defines a matrix of integration drawings specifying how all construction components, devices, control, and construction technologies are integrated with the building site. Mostly MSIs and consulting specifying engineers are more concerned with this division of CSI. It is beneficial for error-free integration and reducing risk in integrating construction components.

Division 26 (Electrical)

This division tells about installing anything that the client will give scope to. It will be to modify, control, utilize, generate, regulate, distribute, or safeguard electrical energy. Safeguarding is required for chemical, heating, mechanical, cosmetic, related purposes, or lighting.

Division 27 (Communication)

Effective communication is crucial for maintaining security and making informed decisions throughout the construction process. CSI division 27 thus specifies certain rules and practices for a seamless communication system during the construction project. It provides a comprehensive guide to equipment, technology, and solutions, to assist construction professionals with advanced communication systems.

Construction experts can organize and implement several solutions within the specified time, with effective communication and security regulations.

Division 28 (Security and Safety Electronically)

It involves the work related to security and its intelligent (or electronic) components. It’s apart from security and other safety systems for life and fire in an existing or new building.

Division 31 (Earthwork)

Earthwork describes the process of soil changes. It’s to help the projects of building. You will know about the soil and how to place, improve, or move it. It also involves special foundations or building different soil types, tunnels of buildings, and foundations of buildings.

Division 32 (Improving Exterior)

It includes the list of the work on the project site. It’s about the work outside the surface area of a structure or building. After the earthwork on a site, the last improvements are done. This division covers the site improvements of two types: landscaping and paving. There are subtopics regarding landscaping concerns. These are retaining walls, plants, fencing, irrigation, and wetlands.

Division 33 (Utilities)

All services, including electrical and mechanical, facilitate the work of a building’s site. It involves overhead lines of water and electrical conduit, a phone call network, wastewater, water pipes, the structure to rainwater from storms, and the system to get steam and fuel.

Division 34 (Transportation)

CSI division 34 provides guidelines for designing and constructing transportation projects. Projects related to the development of monorails, signaling systems, bridges, fare collection systems, roadways, and airports.

The best practices and outlined standards allow construction experts and engineers to carry out reliable and seamless construction projects. It prevents construction cost and time delays, with timely decision-making and easy access to construction information at various phases.

Division 35 (Waterway and Marine Construction Manufacturers)

CSI division 35 describes the construction information and rules for carrying out marine and waterways construction. Seawalls, canals, underwater pipelines, harbors, flood control systems, dams, and various other coastal structures are constructed with the provided standards under Divison 35. Operating with construction project with a specified set of rules results in flood management, erosion control, coastal protection, and resilient structures for unique construction needs.

Division 40 (Process Integration Manufacturers)

Mechanical systems may encounter several vulnerabilities and errors if not handled with accuracy and precision. Division 40 of CSI divisions provides different materials and specifications for the quality installation of mechanical systems. It ensures that all the requirements are delivered as per your project needs and the installation is carried out within the scope of all specified codes and standards.

Division 41(Material Processing & Handling Equipments)

Materials in a construction project should efficiently be handled, organized, and managed for flawless project completion.

Certainly, construction experts don’t want their projects to be delayed or exceed the expected budget. This is where the CSI division 41 defines regulations for seamless organizing, transportation, and storing of all material components in a construction project. It also assists in managing material wastage within the construction project.

CSI Division 40 deals with handling, processing, and storage of bulk material, manufacturing equipment, piece materials, and packaging equipment for quality material management.

Division 42 (Process Heating, Cooling, And Drying Equipment)

The correct equipment for heating cooling and drying could have a significant impact on the success or shortcoming of a project. That is why it is crucial for the effective use and handling of such equipment for managing your system’s temperature at various parts.

CSI Division 42 deals specifically with the equipment that regulates materials’ temperature throughout the system. Industries such as food processing, manufacturing pharmaceuticals, chemicals, automotive, and more rely on CSI division 42 for a temperature-controlled system.

Division 43 (Process Gas and Liquid Handling, Purification, and Storage Equipment Manufacturers)

Division 43 brings forth the best industry practices, tools, and technology for handling gas and liquid. It is useful to perform several industrial and laboratory operations with safety and accuracy. The division clarifies standards for carrying out water and gas purification, storage, and equipment handling to industry-specific needs.

Division 44 (Pollution And Waste Control Equipment)

While operating projects in the construction industry, pollution can cause great harm to the surrounding environment and people. Pollution could be in various forms such as noise, air water, and material wastage.

Now this is where Division 44 helps carry out pollution-free building sites. Identifying the case of pollution that may be released by nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds(VOCs) and several other contaminants, division 44 MasterFormats provides the relevant updated technology and practices to carry out sustainable and clean construction. It highlights how the equipment could be used to minimize pollution effects and control your construction material wastage for eco-friendly and tailored construction results.

Division 45 (Industry-Specific Manufacturing Equipment)

Division 45 of CSI defines a list of companies that manufacture tools and equipment to carry out tailored industry-specific tasks. For each industry, the division provides a couple of companies operating to carry out fabrication, supply, manufacturing, installation, and more.

It aims to enhance the operational efficiency and accuracy of a wide range of businesses in an industry with bespoke technological solutions. It contributes to industries such as aerospace, electronics, metalworking, construction, and more for smooth industry processes.

Division 46 (Water And Wastewater Equipment)

Division 46 brings a wide range of practices and standards to be accompanied in water treatment facilities. It defines the latest technology and updated methods of purifying water. Additionally, it specifies how to handle equipment within these systems and carry out flawless maintenance for better seamless water treatment.

There are several water-treating systems and technologies that include Membrane Bioreactors, Intelligent water systems, and Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfectors for water purification. These CSI MasterFormat divisions define how to operate the water systems safely and efficiently.

Division 48 (Electrical Power Generation)

Division 48 principles provide in-depth information on the design, specification, and installation of electrical power generation systems at a large scale. Power generation systems like photovoltaic systems, wind turbine systems, hydroelectric power systems, geothermal energy systems, and more require meticulous attention to every component.

CSI Division 48 details the specifications to execute site selection, evaluation, system sizing and capacity, infrastructure installation, maintenance, and performance optimization of such major projects for strong and sustainable structures.

Thus CSI divisions provide thorough construction information, crucial to execute every phase of construction projects with efficiency, consistency, and compliance. It plays an effective role in maintaining your construction documentation and carrying out eco-friendly construction across diverse construction zones.

Understanding the Structure

MasterFormat appears overwhelming at first. Contractors find it easy when they understand how to use it. The structure is divided into three levels.

Division (Level 1)

Divisions are the highest level. You will find 50 divisions in MasterFormat. Each division specifies different construction parts. The number of divisions in the updated form (2020) is in this form: 00 to 49. They leave some divisions vacant to add in the future when the industry will evolve.

Section (Level 2)

Each division has different sections. Every section concerns a specific work of that division. For example, if division 05 is about Metal, then its sections will deal with various aspects of Metal.

Subsection (Level 3)

You will see subsections of each section at this level. The subsection specifies further information about that section. Subsections are categorized in more detail. The broad work scope precisely classifies these.

You may find the fourth level in some codes with decimals after the third level.

Specifications for Three-Part

Each specification provides three sections or details. Professionals use this three-part spec. These specifications are different than MasterFormat. MasterFormat has two-digit numbers written separately in three parts with a space. The first 2 digits describe the division’s number, the next two digits represent the section, and the two digits in the third place concern the subsection.

There are three parts or sections in each “three-part spec.” Here, the three parts concern different things. The name of part 1 is general, part 2 is product, and 3rd is execution.

Part 1 (General Section)

You will find the related number of sections and the details in this part. It includes submittals and other referenced standards.

Part 2 (Product Section)

The product’s information on the specific specification will be referenced. For instance, the requirement of manufacturing is providing finishes and quality, etc.

Part 3 (Execution Section)

This section or part tells about construction or installation requirements. Take the example of structural concrete. Its capacity and size tell about the execution part.

Benefits of Using CSI MasterFormat

CSI master format provides a bunch of construction benefits. Here are a few advantages of CSI divisions for construction experts.

Allocating Construction Resources

CSI MasterFormat provides a systematic approach that ensures quick allocation and access of materials, equipment, and tools at each construction part. It also allows quick access to construction information, which enables contractors to manage construction without delays in time and expenses.

Managing Risk

It provides an effective set of standards to manage construction information. It is one of the most crucial ways to prevent risks and carry out error-free construction-based tasks by adapting to guidelines for handling construction equipment.

Enhanced Security

Protecting your construction project from several vulnerabilities and security is a great concern. CSI divisions leverage guidance and installation of advanced security systems at several sections to handle your commercial and residential construction project, with a secure foundation.

Accurate Construction Operation

CSI construction divisions explain detailed information of different phases of construction projects. Dealing with HVAC, electrics, plumbing, waterways, and more. The information is accurate and reliable for sustainable project outcomes.

Seamless Communication

All the stakeholders, contractors, and experts have access to your construction information. Additionally, the CSI division enhances communication with easy sharing of construction data without any gaps.

Construction Compliance

CSI formats assist experts in assuring that your construction documentation and processes are carried out in compliance with industry standards, ordinances, and established construction codes.

Quick Documentation

Contractors can copy construction information and disciplines from CSI MasterFormats. This can assist in following contractual guidelines and the construction process for seamless project completion.

Working of CSI MasterFormat

The standard of CSI MasterFormat ensures consistency among the builders and manufacturers. Manufacturers match their product specifications (i.e. weight, type of material, and size) with MasterFormat. When building companies acquire these materials, they can arrange a site in advance.

Take an example here. A builder knows that drainage and water lines should have space from each other and the wall. It requires installing a toilet from scratch. MasterFormat helps toilet makers accommodate the plumbing during the pre-building toilet. Additionally, it assists in managing several more processes without time delays.

Use of MasterFormat in Estimating

Contractors frequently use the CSI list of divisions to make data more accessible and predictable for building. It’s a subsystem and numerical for estimating and classifying processes and materials.

Ways for the Use in Construction

MasterFormat has eight ways to organize the specifications. It facilitates throughout the process of Construction. It’s vital for effective planning of projects, their efficient execution, and communication facilitation. Apart from organizing details, it applies to a broad range.

Ways for the Use in Construction


MasterFormat is a reliable source to estimate the cost of the project. Estimators make precise projections of charge for each construction component. It’s to enhance budget transparency, lower the risk of finance, and accuracy improvement. A general contractor organizes their price and bid estimate through CSI construction divisions.


MasterFormat guides specialty contractors to identify the news of material. Also, they can communicate with the suppliers about the requirements of procurement. So contractors can order the required materials to avoid delays and reduce waste.

Managing Construction

Contractors organize their schedules of work. They determine the task sequence. Also, they can coordinate regarding project trade. It helps them allocate resources optimally.

Resolving Dispute

Disputes regarding effects, omissions, damage, or errors that may occur. Lawyers consult spec book. MasterFormat guide about the responsibilities of the contractor and the requirements of the material. It’s to determine the financial obligation.

Detail of Specifications

MasterFormat exists to organize details of installation and materials requirements specifically. It contains specific information for building elements. It helps engineers, designers, and architects capture the required information that trade contractors use for project estimation.

Managing Bid

It provides a framework for subcontractors, suppliers, and GCs for submitting bids, quotes, and proposals. Suppliers and contractors use it to prepare offers and use all tasks. This standard provides bid comparison and suitability of the project proposal.

Management of Budget

Project owners manage the budgets of projects and organize the codes of cost. The owner can easily compare the actual and estimated prices of work. Transferring data makes it easy for budget evaluation between applications. So, there is no need to copy manually.

Facilities Management

MasterFormat organizes and structures the manuals of maintenance and operation effectively. It provides quick access to information regarding the replacement or upkeeping of building components.


MasterFormat organizes every specific detail regarding each aspect of Construction. With technological advancements, CSI format divisions will evolve. The entire industry incorporates the specifications and changes. Efficiency in the documentation of construction enhanced. The digital programs can enhance automation when construction integrates with virtual design.


What’s the MasterFormat’s recent version?

The current version is 2018. This provides the existing structure as of July 2002. MasterFormat organizes ASTM standards for the evaluation of the items. It’s to ensure the sustainability of these building items.


What specifies the three parts?

Specific sections are arranged about the project’s manual using the three-part format. The chances of duplications or omissions in that section will be reduced. Each action is specified in three parts. Parts 1, 2, and three state about general products and execution. These parts are defined in the title and number. Each piece involves information about the section’s subject.

How does MasterFormat facilitate communication among participants?

It organizes standard specifications for buildings in Canada and the United States. It includes facilities for institutional or commercial purposes. Communication will improve among the construction team and the design members. Every party gets titles and a numbers list for organizing the details of the project.

Differentiate UniFormat and MasterFormat?

Both are the two standards of project breakdown, UF (UniFormat) and MF (MasterFormat). At the project lifecycle, various stages guide the cost estimating of construction. For system decisions, UniFormat comes in. More specificity leads to MasterFormat.

UniFormat is concerned with building content in organized systems. Their elements are external walls, lighting, foundations, and sprinkler methods. MasterFormat is based on making the content of the material organized.

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